Our last post gave some definitions of stalking and statistics gathered by the various local and national law enforcement agencies in the United States.
First things first; stalking is a difficult crime to stop because although your privacy may have been invaded, it’s possible that the stalker hasn’t actually broken the law, and the police and don’t have any cause for arrest. Thus, it’s important that you document everything that happens, even if you aren’t entirely certain you’re being watched. Several organizations are available to help. The first is Arming Women Against .Rape and Endangerment, or AWARE.
AWARE has a ton of resources available to help a victim prior to their victimization. In other words, to catch the stalker in the act. They also offer services and counseling for victims if some sort of aggressive act has been taken toward the victim. The second (by no means are there only two) is End Stalking in America (ESIA). The ESIA works with victims and their families after someone in the family has had this type of invasive crime perpetrated against them.
The ESIA came up with the following steps for ensuring your safety. However, nothing is foolproof, or successful, at times best judgment must prevail.
- Not listening to your intuition.
- You need to keep your internal radar tuned to pick up signals that something might be wrong.
- Letting someone down easy, instead of saying a definitive NO, if you’re not interested in the relationship.
Trying to be nice can lead a potentially obsessive suitor to hear what he or she wants instead of the message that you’re not interested.
- Ignoring the early warning signs.
The attention you find annoying now may escalate into dangerous harassment/and pursuit.
- Responding to a stalker in any way, shape, or form.
This means not acceding to your stalkers demands even once he or she has introduced threats.
- Trying to reason or bargain with a stalker.
Stalking is like a long rape. Your natural reactions almost automatically put you at a disadvantage.
- Seeking a restraining or protective order.
All too often, this one act propels stalkers to act violently. Still tempted to get that piece of paper?
- Expecting police to solve your problem and make it go away.
Even the Los Angeles Police Department’s Threat Management Unit says that victims have to take 100% responsibility for their dealing with the situation.
- Taking inadequate privacy and safety precautions.
- Neglecting to enlist the support of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, therapists, and other victims.
It may be tough to admit that you’re being stalked, but it’s not your fault.
- Ignoring emotional needs during and after a stalking.
Honestly, no one wants to incite violence in what may already be a violent act, but being prepared for anything is the key. This includes knowing where you are, not staying out to the middle of the morning by yourself, or using the buddy system. There are many non-lethal forms of fighting (ie, not a gun or knife) that may save your life. A course in self defense is one way to take the element of surprise away from your attacker. A small vial of Pepper Spray will make the toughest person think twice after getting an eyeful of burning spray. Personal alarms are a great way to let other’s know that you are in trouble. However, we don’t advocate fighting back unless you think your life, or the lives of others, are in danger.
If you are being stalked, or fear you might be but aren’t sure, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at anytime at (888)338-4545